Hello writers and Happy New Year!

We did it! We made it to 2021! And while the woes of 2020 didn’t magically disappear at midnight on January 1st (unfortunately), the glimmer of hope that comes with this new year is extremely comforting. We hope you all managed to have a wonderful and safe holiday season and are ready to tackle your 2021 writing goals head on!

The finals of the 2020 KWL Indie Cover Contest are being held this week. Be sure to go vote for your favourite cover before the poll closes this Sunday! And keep your eyes peeled for the KWL 2021 Reading Challenge which will be announced soon.

Before we move onto the publishing news of the week, there are a few stories wrapping up 2020. Despite everything else being more or less terrible, 2020 was actually good for the book industry.

Surprise Ending for Publishers: In 2020, Business Was Good

With people stuck at home and so many other activities shut down, a lot of reading – or at least a lot of book buying – happened this year. Like everybody else, book publishers will be happy to see the end of 2020.

Although 2020 was a scandal-filled year for France’s literary establishment.

A Year of Scandals and Self-Questioning for France’s Top Publishers

The release of “Consent” put France’s literary establishment under a harsh spotlight. The publishing industry is grappling with a nation that it resembles less and less. PARIS – France’s publishers are usually cloistered in newspapers’ genteel book sections or discussed with near reverence on television literary programs. But for the past 12 months, they have been under the harsh spotlight of muckraking online investigators and of police blotters.

And if you want to take a stroll down 2020 publishing memory lane, here are the top ten stories from the publishing world of last year.

The Ten Biggest Literary Stories of the Year

At this point, what is really left to say about 2020? It was pretty bad, overall. Some parts were okay. There were some good books. There were some bad actions. There were some much-needed reckonings. Our lives and listicle intros were overwhelmed by a deadly pandemic (bad), a treasonous president (worse), and righteous protests (better, but bittersweet).

Simon and Schuster have cancelled Senator Josh Hartley’s book deal.

Simon & Schuster Cancels Plans for Senator Hawley’s Book

The publisher faced calls to drop the Missouri Republican’s upcoming book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” following criticism of his efforts to overturn the presidential election. Simon & Schuster said on Thursday that it would cancel the publication of an upcoming book by Senator Josh Hawley, one of several members of Congress who tried to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Small Press Distribution is under fire after a former employee published allegations of wage left and discrimination in an article on Medium.

Allegations of Wage Theft, Discrimination at Small Press Distribution

Small Press Distribution, one of the nation’s oldest and largest distributors of independent publishers, is under fire in a widening dispute about labor conditions sparked by a former employee’s anonymous article on Medium.

Publisher Weekly is launching a new US Book Trade Fair.

PW Launches New U.S. Book Trade Fair for May

Publishers Weekly has announced it will launch a new American publishing trade fair. Named the U.S. Book Show, the debut event will run virtually May 26-28. The intended audience includes booksellers, librarians, publishers and literary agents from across the U.S. and the world.

A phishing scheme has been targeting authors and their editors.

Why on Earth Is Someone Stealing Unpublished Book Manuscripts?

A phishing scam with unclear motive or payoff is targeting authors, agents and editors big and small, baffling the publishing industry. Earlier this month, the book industry website Publishers Marketplace announced that Little, Brown would be publishing “Re-Entry,” a novel by James Hannaham about a transgender woman paroled from a men’s prison.

Former New York state poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Jean Valentine died over the holidays.

In Memory of Jean Valentine (1934-2020) | Copper Canyon Press

We mourn the loss of former State Poet of New York, Pulitzer Prize finalist, professor of literature, and beloved poet Jean Valentine, who died on December 29, 2020 in New York, NY. She was 86. Valentine published 14 collections of poetry, including Break the Glass (Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Poetry, 2011), Door in the Mountain: […]

Bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey passed away this week at 59.

Author Eric Jerome Dickey Has Died At 59

We are saddened to report on the January 3 death of New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey. The news was confirmed by his publicist. He was 59 years old. “I am heart broken. My cousin, Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on yesterday,” wrote La Verne Madison Fuller on social media.

Barry Lopez, author of National Book Award winner Arctic Dreams, has passed away.

Barry Lopez, whose landmark writings bore witness to the natural world, has died at 75.

Barry Lopez, whose writings offered a deep understanding and nuanced exploration of the natural world and human beings’ relationship to it, has died at the age of 75.

The Canada Reads longlist for 2021 has been revealed.

Here is the Canada Reads 2021 longlist | CBC Books

2020 was a year like no other. As we start 2021 and look forward to the 20th edition of Canada Reads , we are reminded that books can be a safe place to go when times are tough.

The Royal Mint released a commemorative coin to mark the 75th anniversary of the death of HG Wells, but fans of the science fiction pioneer have noticed the coin is rife with errors.

War of the words: HG Wells coin also features false quote

It is a mystery that HG Wells’s characters would have been quick to leap on, but one that would doubtless have enraged the fastidious Wells himself: what is the origin of the quote chosen by the Royal Mint and attributed to him on the new Wells £2 coin?

The Duchess of Cornwall is starting her own book club

Duchess Camilla Is Starting Her Own Book Club

Over the last decade, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has established herself as the palace’s main book lover by working with seven different literacy charities and becoming a fixture at the annual ceremony for the Man Booker Prize, even during the pandemic.

As it looks like lockdowns are going to continue throughout a lot of the world, maybe it’s time to start a new project like binding your own books.

11 Bookbinding Kits That Will Have You Crafting Your Own Books in No Time

Books are such an important part of everyday life, whether for personal, recreational, or educational purposes. But have you ever wondered how you can make one of your own? Bookbinding is a centuries-old trade and art that has a detailed and rich history.

If you’re hoping to read more translated works in the new year (and if you want to complete the yet-to-be-announced KWL 2021 reading challenge you may want to try), here’s a list of translations coming out in 2021.

Tantalizing Translation Recs for 2021

Translators and indie booksellers share what they’re loving and looking forward to

And finally, now that the best of 2020 book lists are over and done with, it’s time to look forward to highly anticipated books coming out in 2021!
Lit Hub’s most anticipated books
Bookmark’s most anticipated sci-fi and fantasy
CrimeReads most anticipated crime books

What books are you looking forward to in 2021? And don’t forget to let us know about the titles you’re releasing this year!

Staff Recommendation
Tara, Senior Manager, Author Experience
“I listened to the audiobook to listen to Kae’s voice and also read the eBook so I could stop and make highlights. This book was a nice read for the end of 2020 as it talks about the importance of artistic connection and how that’s been difficult during pandemic lockdowns. Kae’s writing is thoughtful and smooth, as expected from their poetry. They talk about what inspires them and how they refresh when inspiration has diminished. A recommendation for anyone that’s looking for a little creative nudge.” 

On Connection ebook by Kae Tempest – Rakuten Kobo

Read “On Connection” by Kae Tempest available from Rakuten Kobo. Beneath the surface we are all connected . . . ‘An authentically soothing, powerful, thought-provoker.’ MATT HAIG *’*On …